The vast majority of theses in this collection are open access and freely available. There are a small number of theses that have access restricted to the WWU campus. For off-campus access to a thesis labeled "Campus Only Access," please log in here with your WWU universal ID, or talk to your librarian about requesting the restricted thesis through interlibrary loan.

Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Kinesiology, Sport and Exercise Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Human Development

First Advisor

Keeler, Linda

Second Advisor

Arthur-Cameselle, Jessyca

Third Advisor

Kuntz, Pam


Approximately 95% of dancers suffer from musculoskeletal pain, and rates of musculoskeletal injury in professional dancers range between 20% to 84% (Hincapié et al., 2008). In addition to the mechanical disturbances that injuries have on physical functioning, athletic injuries often trigger psychological and emotional distress (Anderson et al., 2004; Wiese-Bjornstal et al., 1998). Sport athletes have reported emotions including frustration, depression, fear, and anger post-injury, among other psychological responses (Johnston & Carroll, 1998; Macchi & Crossman, 1996; Tracey, 2003). Dancers, like sport athletes, face inherent risks for injury due to the artistry and physicality of dancing (Hincapié et al., 2008), yet there is limited research on the psychological responses of dance-related injuries, particularly within modern dancers (Thomas & Tarr, 2009). Thus, the purpose of the present study was to qualitatively explore the post-injury psychological experiences of modern dancers. Participants included eight adult modern dancers (7 women, 1 man; Mage = 30.5 years; 75% White) who had suffered a serious injury (≥ 6 weeks recovery time) within the past five years. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews, and all interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded line-by-line through an inductive analysis process. All open codes were sorted into 24 themes. Final themes were organized into seven higher order categories: emotional reactions, behavioral responses, realizations, external factors, loss, acceptance, and other experiences. The present study provides a base of research on the complexity of dance injury experiences and can be used as a guide to aid practitioners to support modern dancers more effectively.




modern dancers, stress-related growth, social support, surgery, athletic injury, emotional responses, qualitative


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Dancing injuries--Psychological aspects; Dancers--Interviews




masters theses




Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Rights Statement

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Included in

Kinesiology Commons